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Not by cattle class! Why should an MP suffer for demanding to fly Business Class on an All-Economy flight?

By Anand Mazgaokar*
The biggest crisis of the year 2017 -- something that caused turmoil in Parliament, Government, ruling alliance -- has been "resolved". The astuteness, accommodativeness, ability to find ‘middle ground’, of our politicians has "saved" the day.
The question is did a Member of Parliament really thrash an airline employee? Did he only brag about it? Did he both, thrash & brag? A Commission of Inquiry should be set up. Of course, when an elected ‘People’s Representative’ thrashes a commoner 25 times with his slippers, it should not be automatically assumed that the violent MP is the offending party!
May be, after 2014 a 56 inch chest is no single individual’s monopoly. Others have also started going around with inflated chests. The only people who don’t have 56 inch chests are hapless party spokespersons who, on TV, have to both, condemn goon-like behaviour and at the same time not disturb the ruling alliance applecart.
The cardinal rule to be safe while committing crime in India is to do it as part of a mob, or be assured of political patronage. Ideally both. Ask all rioters. Ask Gau rakshaks. His crime was doing it all alone and while someone’s camera was on. Therefore, the most important question here is why did the MP land in this soup? Was it inexperience? Was it overconfidence? Or, was it knowledge that he and his party would be able to bargain their way out of this?
The MP must have had a very stressful time. His party dithered. It was in two minds. They almost pulled him up for his behaviour. But that would have been so out of character. They soon realised that and found their feet and voice in Parliament and came out with all guns blazing. Everyone who knows them and their track record must have heaved sigh of relief.
The poor MP has already undergone untold hardship and punishment without trial. He was barred from flying by all airlines, he’s had to make train journeys multiple times, cartoonists are having a field day, some even showed him flying on slippers. He’s even had to charter a plane to go to Delhi.
There doesn’t seem to be a Patanjali Airline which would have been a law unto itself and given the MP his due. Unfortunately, the Patanjali folks only manufacture toothpaste, biscuits, shampoo, soaps etc., thus far. 
As far as one can tell they haven’t diversified into aircraft manufacture, airline running or managing airports. In the absence of competition from Patanjali the other airlines have all ganged up against a People’s representative licenced by elections to wanton behaviour.
MPs having to fly cattle class is such a travesty. And, by the way, it wasn’t the offending MP who invented the cattle class, it was actually established by a certain Shashi Tharoor. No other human being on earth should suffer such ignominy for just demanding his right to fly Business Class on an all Economy flight!
MPs truly have, and must have special privileges. There’s no way they can be treated as common citizens. If rioters are not acted against, if mob-violence is legit, if ‘gau rakshaks’ go scot free in spite of what they do, if Dalit-atrocities are okay how on earth can an MP be targeted ?
The poor MP and his party’s plight didn’t end there. They had to drag Mr Mohan Bhagwat in and float the balloon of supporting him as President. Mr. Bhagwat, as the President of India because an Air India employee was beaten with slippers! That one would be for the annals of politics! In any case sensible, rational people do not make sense in this day and age.
But, the MP and his party need not have stressed themselves so much. A deal with the senior partner was inevitable. They’re so intertwined. They need each other in the Mumbai Municipal Corporation. They cannot do without each other in Maharashtra Assembly. Not in Delhi either. The senior partner needs them for Presidential elections. Sharing a genetic code and long marriage does bestow advantages.
If they were still not assured of a deal Mr Donald Trump was at hand. He offered his good offices to mediate between India & Pakistan. The Govt could have struck a package deal with Mr Trump and got him to mediate between the alliance partners too.
Anyone who fears that change will come about, that there is danger of Indian polity being civilised and rule of law being applied at all times and in all cases must rest assured that the Government and if need be, the Speaker will intervene and restore status quo. Amen.

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